Should Wizard Hit Mommy?

Today, during the concluding hours of the soothing weekend, I happened to go through  my cupboard for arranging books.In the process, I found my old English coursebook of high school. I always saved my English books because I loved the stories in them. While I flipped the pages of this paticular book titled ‘Vistas: Supplementary Reader in English’, I stopped at one particular story. ‘Should Wizard Hit Mommy’ by John Updike.

I began to read it with interest, while also reviving some school days memory with it. As I finished reading it, I felt touched by the story. I had never felt like that when I had read it in school. Maybe something has changed  in these 7 years.I felt like sharing this story with everyone. Ask everyone I knew, to read it and talk about it. Do they find it as nice as I found it now? This prompted me to write about it today on my blog.

‘Should Wizard Hit Mommy’ is a beautiful story of a father who tells fanciful bedtime stories to his daughter. But on this particular day, he decides that he will tell her a more realistic story. His daughter must learn the realities of life and should no longer live in the illusory world of rosy tales. He tells her an old story but changes its ending which makes the little girl get restless and revolting. She protests that  his dad should change its ending to what it had been when he had told her on an earlier day, but he refuses. He feels convinced that this may irritate his daughter but what he is conveying is the reality of life, and she must acknowledge it.

wizard

John Updike, known for writing on subjects concerning middle-class people has weaved this interesting short story involving a father, worn out with handling responsibilities of family and a little girl who is young, naive and imagines of an ideal world.

I invite you to read this wonderful tale..You too may like it. Please tell me how you feel about it. I am sure you will find it very nicely narrated.

wizard

In the evenings and for Saturday naps like today’s, Jack told his daughter Jo a story out of his head. This custom, begun when she was two, was itself now nearly two years old, and his head felt empty. Each new story was a slight variation of a basic tale: a small creature, usually named Roger (Roger Fish, Roger Squirrel, Roger Chipmunk), had some problem and went with it to the wise old owl. The owl told him to go to the wizard, and the wizard performed a magic spell that solved the problem, demanding in payment a number of
pennies greater than the number that Roger Creature had, but in the same breath directing the animal to a place where the extra pennies could be found. Then Roger was
so happy he played many games with other creatures, and went home to his mother just in time to hear the train whistle that brought his daddy home from Boston. Jack described their supper, and the story was over. Working his way through this scheme was especially fatiguing on Saturday, because Jo never fell asleep in naps any more, and knowing this made the rite seem futile.
The little girl (not so little any more; the bumps her feet made under the covers were halfway down the bed, their big double bed that they let her be in for naps and when she was sick) had at last arranged herself, and from the way her fat face deep in the pillow shone in the sunlight sifting through the drawn shades, it did not seem fantastic that some magic would occur, and she would take her nap like an infant of two. Her brother, Bobby, was two, and already asleep with his bottle. Jack asked, “Who shall the
story be about today?”
“Roger…” Jo squeezed her eyes shut and smiled to be thinking she was thinking. Her eyes opened, her mother’s blue. “Skunk,” she said firmly. A new animal; they must talk about skunks at nursery school. Having a fresh hero momentarily stirred Jack to creative enthusiasm. “All right,” he said. “Once upon a time, in the deep dark woods, there was a tiny little creature by the name of Roger Skunk. And he smelled very bad.”
“Yes,” Jo said.
“He smelled so bad that none of the other little woodland creatures would play with him.” Jo looked at him solemnly; she hadn’t foreseen this. “Whenever he would go out to play,” Jack continued with zest, remembering certain humiliations of his own childhood, “all of the other tiny animals would cry, “Uh-oh, here comes Roger Stinky Skunk,” and they would run away, and Roger Skunk would stand there all alone, and two little round tears would fall from his eyes.” The corners of Jo’s mouth drooped down and her lower lip bent forward as he traced with a forefinger along the side of her nose the course of
one of Roger Skunk’s tears.
“Won’t he see the owl?” she asked in a high and faintly roughened voice. Sitting on the bed beside her, Jack felt the covers tug as her legs switched tensely. He was pleased with this moment — he was telling her something true, something she must know — and had no wish to hurry on. But downstairs a chair scraped, and he realised he must get
down to help Clare paint the living-room woodwork.
“Well, he walked along very sadly and came to a very big tree, and in the tiptop of the tree was an enormous wise old owl.”
“Good.”
“Mr Owl,” Roger Skunk said, “all the other little animals run away from me because I smell so bad.”

“So you do,” the owl said.

“Very, very bad.”

“What can I do?” Roger Skunk said, and he cried very hard.
“The wizard, the wizard,” Jo shouted, and sat right up, and a Little Golden Book spilled from the bed.
“Now, Jo. Daddy’s telling the story. Do you want to tell Daddy the story?”
“No. You me.”
“Then lie down and be sleepy.”
Her head relapsed onto the pillow and she said, “Out of your head.”
“Well. The owl thought and thought. At last he said, “Why don’t you go see the wizard?”
“Daddy?”
“What?”
“Are magic spells real?” This was a new phase, just this last month, a reality phase. When he told her spiders eat bugs, she turned to her mother and asked, “Do they really?” and when Clare told her God was in the sky and all around them, she turned to her father and insisted, with a sly yet eager smile, “Is He really?”
“They’re real in stories,” Jack answered curtly. She had made him miss a beat in the narrative. “The owl said, “Go through the dark woods, under the apple trees, into the swamp, over the crick —”
“What’s a crick?”
wizardA little river. “Over the crick, and there will be the wizard’s house.” And that’s the way Roger Skunk went, and pretty soon he came to a little white house, and he rapped on the door.”

Jack rapped on the window sill, and under the covers Jo’s tall figure clenched in an infantile thrill.

“And then a tiny little old man came out, with a long white beard and a pointed blue hat, and said, “Eh? Whatzis? Whatcher want? You smell awful.” The wizard’s voice was one of Jack’s own favourite effects; he did it by scrunching up his face and somehow whining through his eyes, which felt for the interval rheumy. He felt being an old man suited him.“I know it,” Roger Skunk said, “and all the little animals run away from me. The enormous wise owl said you could help me.”
“Eh? Well, maybe. Come on in. Don’t get too close.” Now, inside, Jo, there were all these magic things, all jumbled together in a big dusty heap, because the wizard did not have any cleaning lady.”
“Why?”
“Why? Because he was a wizard, and a very old man.”
“Will he die?”
“No. Wizards don’t die. Well, he rummaged around and found an old stick called a magic wand and asked Roger Skunk what he wanted to smell like. Roger thought and thought and said, “Roses.”
“Yes. Good,” Jo said smugly.
Jack fixed her with a trance like gaze and chanted in the wizard’s elderly irritable voice:
“Abracadabry, hocus-poo, Roger Skunk, how do you do, Roses, boses, pull an ear,
Roger Skunk, you never fear: Bingo!”
He paused as a rapt expression widened out from his daughter’s nostrils, forcing her eyebrows up and her lower lip down in a wide noiseless grin, an expression in which
Jack was startled to recognise his wife feigning pleasure at cocktail parties. “And all of a sudden,” he whispered, “the whole inside of the wizard’s house was full of the
smell of — roses! ‘Roses!’ Roger Fish cried. And the wizard said, very cranky, “That’ll be seven pennies.”
“Daddy.”
“What?”
“Roger Skunk. You said Roger Fish.”
“Yes. Skunk.”
“You said Roger Fish. Wasn’t that silly?”
“Very silly of your stupid old daddy. Where was I? Well, you know about the pennies.”
“Say it.”
“O.K. Roger Skunk said, ‘But all I have is four pennies,’ and he began to cry.”

Jo made the crying face again, but this time without a trace of sincerity. This annoyed Jack.
Downstairs some more furniture rumbled. Clare shouldn’t move heavy things; she was six months pregnant. It would be their third.
“So the wizard said, ‘Oh, very well. Go to the end of the lane and turn around three times and look down the magic well and there you will find three pennies. Hurry up.’ So Roger Skunk went to the end of the lane and turned around three times and there in the magic well were three pennies! So he took them back to the wizard and was very happy and ran out into the woods and all the other little animals gathered around him because he smelled so good.And they played tag, baseball, football, basketball, lacrosse, hockey, soccer, and pick-up-sticks.”
“What’s pick-up-sticks?”
“It’s a game you play with sticks.”
“Like the wizard’s magic wand?”
“Kind of. And they played games and laughed all afternoon and then it began to get dark and they all ran home to their mommies.”
Jo was starting to fuss with her hands and look out of the window, at the crack of day that showed under the shade. She thought the story was all over. Jack didn’t like women when they took anything for granted; he liked them apprehensive, hanging on his words. “Now, Jo, are you listening?”
“Yes.”
“Because this is very interesting.
Roger Skunk’s mommy said, ‘What’s that awful smell?’
“Wha-at?”
“And, Roger Skunk said, ‘It’s me, Mommy. I smell like roses.’ And she said, ‘Who made you smell like that?’ And he said, ‘The wizard,’ and she said, ‘Well, of all the nerve. You come with me and we’re going right back to that very awful wizard.”
Jo sat up, her hands dabbling in the air with genuine fright. “But Daddy, then he said about the other little animals run away!” Her hands skittered off, into the underbrush.
“All right. He said, ‘But Mommy, all the other little animals run away,’ and she said, ‘I don’t care. You smelled the way a little skunk should have and I’m going to take you right back to that wizard,’ and she took an umbrella and went back with Roger Skunk and hit that wizard right over the head.”
“No,” Jo said, and put her hand out to touch his lips, yet even in her agitation did not quite dare to stop the source of truth. Inspiration came to her. “Then the wizard
hit her on the head and did not change that little skunk back.”
“No,” he said. “The wizard said ‘O.K.’ and Roger Skunk did not smell of roses any more. He smelled very bad again.”
“But the other little amum — oh! — amum — ”
“Joanne. It’s Daddy’s story. Shall Daddy not tell you any more stories?”

Her broad face looked at him through sifted light, astounded. “This is what happened, then. Roger Skunk and his mommy went home and they heard Woo-oo, woooo-oo and it was the choo-choo train bringing Daddy Skunk home from Boston. And they had lima beans, celery, liver, mashed potatoes, and Pie-Oh-My for dessert. And when Roger Skunk was in bed Mommy Skunk came up and hugged him and said he smelled like her little baby skunk again and she loved him very much. And that’s the end of the story.”
“But Daddy.”
“What?”
“Then did the other little animals run away?”
“No, because eventually they got used to the way he was and did not mind it at all.”
“What’s evenshiladee?”
“In a little while.”
“That was a stupid mommy.”
“It was not,” he said with rare emphasis, and believed, from her expression, that she realised he was defending his own mother to her, or something as odd. “Now I want
you to put your big heavy head in the pillow and have a good long nap.” He adjusted the shade so not even a crack of day showed, and tiptoed to the door, in the pretense that she was already asleep. But when he turned, she was crouching on top of the covers and staring at him. “Hey.Get under the covers and fall faaast asleep. Bobby’s asleep.”
She stood up and bounced gingerly on the springs.
“Daddy.”
“What?”
“Tomorrow, I want you to tell me the story that that wizard took that magic wand and hit that mommy” — her plump arms chopped forcefully — “right over the head.”
“No. That’s not the story. The point is that the little skunk loved his mommy more than he loved all the other little animals and she knew what was right.”
“No. Tomorrow you say he hit that mommy. Do it.” She kicked her legs up and sat down on the bed with a great heave and complaint of springs, as she had done hundreds of times before, except that this time she did not laugh.
“Say it, Daddy.”
“Well, we’ll see. Now at least have a rest. Stay on the bed. You’re a good girl.”
He closed the door and went downstairs. Clare had spread the newspapers and opened the paint can and, wearing an old shirt of his on top of her maternity smock, was stroking the chair rail with a dipped brush. Above him footsteps vibrated and he called, “Joanne! Shall I come up there and scold you?” The footsteps hesitated.
“That was a long story,” Clare said.
“The poor kid,” he answered, and with utter weariness watched his wife labour. The woodwork, a cage of moldings and rails and baseboards all around them, was half old tan
and half new ivory and he felt caught in an ugly middle position, and though he as well felt his wife’s presence in the cage with him, he did not want to speak with her, work
with her, touch her, anything.

(Image Source: xobba eCards )

Advertisements

Word High July: Bughaw

water minimalistic dethklok drowning 1920x1200 wallpaper_www.wallpaperhi.com_67

Blue

One fine day in summer June

Singing loud and cheery tune

Friends exploring wilderness four

Breaking the silence with their roars

Besides the river the jungle spread

Carefully though on brink we tread

Excited thrilled and spirits high

We kept trekking the river side

Wondering what fun more awaited

When one friend at once located

A massive cliff towards which we headed

Nothing that day we least had dreaded

But upon reaching the spot

We admitted that we could not

Find a way to climb that steep

Cliff so we must now try to leap

The far side of the river and go

Exploring more of jungle so

One by one we each descended

Down the land where sea had bended

Let’s get down to the river now,

And holding hands together somehow,

Cross this river sparkling blue

Where crows above noisily flew

Then my first friend slowly got down

“It’s not deep” we heard his sound

As I put my foot in there

The ground beneath me ebbed somewhere

And in a flash I splashed in deep

Carried away by a powerful sweep

Of the currents of angry river

Whole frame of mine then tossed with quiver.

Blue and Blue was all I saw

Tasted water harsh and raw

I knew not how to swim back then

I gasped for air panic stricken

The river played me like a toy

As mad bull rides a poor cowboy

Then by miracle something caught

My legs as I pathetically fought

Towards the shore was I then thrown

And quick for life I clasped a stone

I coughed the water then my mind

Saw my friend who had been kind

To jump at once and swim like fish

Before I drowned like a wrecked ship.

 

–  r prab

 

(Source of above image : Water Minimalistic)

 

In response to Word-High July: 30 Beautiful Filipino Words: Bughaw

 

july-6

banner-1

Reading Off to Sleep

I remember reading sometimes back, on Jacquline’s blog, a post in which she stated about ‘reading off to sleep’. The idea, in the very first instant had impressed upon me a distant reminiscence. In young days, I used to have Champak, a children’s magazine, under my pillow, which was meant to be the bedtime book.I would get to the bed a bit early, so as to have sufficient time to finish a story.

The story would generally have animals as the character. There would be a deer who lost his way in a storm and went to the wise owl to get suggestion as to how to get back to his home. There would be a rabbit, having his hut in the forest, living a simple life and a jackal would try to cheat him and acquire his land, but an elderly cow would assist the rabbit and teach the jackal a lesson.

Sometimes later my sister would gift me a story book, having short stories with morals attached to them. One story would teach me not to trust anyone quickly, the other would suggest me that happiness lies in small things and we should appreciate them.Every night would be a new lesson to learn.

Sometimes, I would sleep off before finishing the story, then try to recall how much I had read while walking to the school,the next morning. The story will be resumed at night again amidst the hum of mosquitoes, flying on the other side of the mosquito net.

There was a small shop in my town, the only shop which sold books for general reading.The old uncle who ran that shop had recognized me and would always show me books he brought from the city especially for me. He used to go to the nearby city to buy his stock of new books and magazines every Wednesday and Saturday. There would be new books on display in his small decrepit store, on Thursdays and Sundays. I began my reading journey from the books and magazines bought from his shop.

These days I am trying to get back to that old habit again. A lot of time has passed and I haven’t had a proper reading schedule as such. I keep reading at random hours and there is no fixed routine of reading while in bed at night.I have decided upon some books which will be exclusively reserved for bedtime reading. I think it will be a nice change and help me find an old connection with the bygone days.

valcha_b

(Image not owned by me. Image Source: thomaskinkade )

 

Recycled Book Reading Challenge: The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag

(This is the first book I am reviewing for the Challenge, initiated by Mliae.If you would like to endorse this interesting concept , do visit her blog!)

This book is a racy read. Jim Corbett is a fine storyteller, who writes in simple language, recreating the scene with utmost vivacity. He talks about the episodes that entail hunting down the leopard which has become a man eater.(He has been sent by the officials of the erstwhile British Indian Empire to save the people by hunting down the leopard)  Why did the leopard become a man-eater? Because there was once a horrible incident of plague and many dead bodies had to be disposed of downhill(the place Rudrapayag lies in the foothills of the Himalayas) The leopard having tasted human flesh that time got addicted to it, and now it has started attacking the people in the villages of the hill.

The leopard hunts at night. This is the period around 1925.Technology hasn’t yet reached in these parts of the hills. People still live in huts, use kerosene lamps to light up during nights, and have to go into the wild to fetch water. Additionally, Rudraprayag lies en route the pilgrim road that links Haridwar to Badrinath, hence the travelling pilgrims often take halt there and stay at pilgrim quarters, which are nothing but open shades.

Now imagine what if a man-eating leopard is operating in such an area.People are vulnerable, unsafe and unarmed. The leopard is wicked, ferocious, powerful, and has become clever over the years – how to outwit human beings and hunt them down.

The hills are rugged. There are no roads yet on which vehicles run. These dirt paths are mostly travelled on foot. The leopard is killing humans within an area of 500 square miles. This expanse of landscape also includes a wide river in between, connected by a hanging bridge. Now this is a really vast area when you can only travel by foot. While the leopard is in a man hunting spree, sometimes attacking in a village 50 miles away from its previous kill. There is no phone or telegram system within the village. An attack can only be reported to the patwari by a man carrying the news by himself, walking on foot, or riding a horse at best.

Jim Corbett narrates this exciting story of hunting down this dangerous beast, which escapes his many traps and gun shots. Perhaps the leopard mocks Corbett for his fragility. It even tries to attack Corbett several times in sinister ways!

If you love reading adventure and thriller and also have the interest to know about new places, do read it.Jim Corbett writes eloquently. He will also help you get a tour of the beautiful villages in the foothills of the Himalayas. He talks about the innocence, humility and the rich culture of people in these hills of India with reverence and sincerity. He always calls them “Our people”, despite himself being a foreigner.He elucidates this elaborate sequence of events while his stay in Rudraprayag and how he could finally hunt down this man-eating leopard, which had terrorized the hill people for 8 long years.

Man-Eating-Leopard-of-Rudraprayag-SDL228548164-1-24eb7

Albert Einstein at School

In what year Einstein,”asked the history teacher, “did the Prussians defeat the French at Waterloo?”

“I don’t know,sir,”

“Why don’t you know? You’ve been told often enough.”

“I must have forgotten.”

“Did you ever try to learn?” asked Braun.

“No, sir,” Albert replied with his usual unthinking honesty.

“Why not?”

“I can’t see any point in learning dates.One can always look them up in a book.”

Mr Braun was speechless for a few moments.

“You amaze me, Einstein.” he said at last. “Don’t you realise that one can always look most things up in books? That applies to all the facts you learn at school.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Then I suppose you don’t see any point in learning facts.”

“Frankly, sir, I don’t, ” said Albert.

“Then you don’t believe in education at all?”

“Oh, yes sir, I do.I don’t think learning is education.”

“In that case,” said the history teacher with heavy sarcasm, “perhaps you will be so kind as to tell the class the Einstein theory of education.”

Albert flushed.

I think it’s not facts that matter, but ideas,” he said. “I don’t see the point in learning the dates of battles, or even which of the armies killed more men. I’d be more interested in learning why those soldiers were trying to kill each other.”

“That’s enough,” Mr Braun’s eyes were cold and cruel. “We don’t want a lecture from you, Einstein.You will stay in for an extra period today, although I don’t imagine it will do you much good.It won’t do the school any good, either. You are a disgrace, I don’t know why you continue to come.”

“It’s not my wish, sir,” Albert pointed out.

“Then you are an ungrateful boy and ought to be ashamed of yourself.I suggest you ask your father to take you away.”

Albert felt miserable when he left the school that afternoon.”I don’t think I’ll ever pass the exams for the school diploma,” he told his friend.

When his cousin Elsa came to Munich, he shared his despondency with her.

“I am sure you could learn enough to pass the exams,Albert, if you tried,” she said, “I know lots of boys who are much more stupid than you are, who get through.They say you don’t have to know anything- you don’t have to understand what you’re taught, just be able to repeat it in the exams.”

“That’s the whole trouble,” said Albert. “I’m no good at learning things by heart.”

“You don’t need to be good at it.Anyone can learn like a parrot.You just don’t try.And yet I always see you with a book under your arms,” added Elsa.”What is the one you’re reading?”

“A book on geology.”

Geology? Rocks and things? Do you learn that?”

“No.We have hardly any science at school.”

“Then why are you studying it?”

“Because I like it. Isn’t that a good enough reason?”

Elsa sighed.

“You’re right, of course, Albert, ” she said. “But it won’t help with your diploma.”

                                                                       -Excerpt from “The Young Einstein” by Patrick Pringle 

 

(I was lured to write this excerpt today, because in the afternoon, I had called one of my friends, Nitish, and I was amused to learn that he had been studying a book on Geology. I told him he had made me remember young Einstein’s story!

As I revisited this old chapter, later in the evening and read this episode once again, I  felt like sharing this story with everyone!

I like Einstein’s passion to learn, that is, in the spirit of knowing the essence of things, rather than memorising and repeating the facts. It is a blessing to be curious that way! But this passion comes with its own set of woes, which this tale very nicely captures.)

school

(Image Source: Link )

 

 

The Opening Lines

4-November-Moonlight-city-scenes-landscape-John-Atkinson-Grimshaw

“Long long time ago, in the land of Transylvania,where silence reigned the hours past sunset..” .. and thus the  story’s curtains open up! Every storyteller has that gift of drawing attention from the very first line or the very first paragraph of his or her narration. This thought got me curious to search how some of the best storytellers had started their stories.What was that first tint of imagery they presented to their readers that commenced that adventurous journey of experiencing their story till the end.I searched through the few books I have in my collection and  compiled this list of the opening lines of a few of them.Hope some of them will bring some good reading memories back!

 

Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergy-man, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge’s name was good upon ’Change for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.

-Charles Dickens. A Christmas Carol 

Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do; once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, “and what is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “without pictures or conversations?”

Lewis Carroll. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

There were four of us— George, and William Samuel Harris, and myself, and Montmorency.   We were sitting in my room, smoking, and talking about how bad we were— bad from a medical point of view I mean, of course.

-Jerome K.Jerome.Three Men in a Boat

Once upon a time, there was a prostitute called Maria. Wait a minute. ‘Once upon a time’ is how all the best children’s stories begin and ‘prostitute’ is a word for adults. How can I start a book with this apparent contradiction? But since, at every moment of our lives, we all have one foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss, let’s keep that beginning.

Once upon a time, there was a prostitute called Maria.

Paolo Coelho.Eleven Minutes

IT WAS the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

Charles Dickens. A Tale of Two Cities

Mike Bowman whistled cheerfully as he drove the Land Rover through the Cabo Blanco Biological Reserve, on the west coast of Costa Rica. It was a beautiful morning in July, and the road before him was spectacular: hugging the edge of a cliff, overlooking the jungle and the blue Pacific.

-Michael Crichton. Jurassic Park 

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

-Jane Austen. Pride & Prejudice 

THE BOY’S NAME WAS SANTIAGO. DUSK WAS FALLING AS the boy arrived with his herd at an abandoned church. The roof had fallen in long ago, and an enormous sycamore had grown on the spot where the sacristy had once stood.

-Paulo Coelho. The Alchemist

Amerigo Bonasera sat in New York Criminal Court Number 3 and waited for justice; vengeance on the men who had so cruelly hurt his daughter, who had tried to dishonor her.

The judge, a formidably heavy-featured man, rolled up the sleeves of his black robe as if to physically chastise the two young men standing before the bench. His face was cold with majestic contempt. But there was something false in all this that Amerigo Bonasera sensed but did not yet understand.

Mario Puzo, The Godfather

Robert Langdon awoke slowly. A telephone was ringing in the darkness—a tinny, unfamiliar ring. He fumbled for the bedside lamp and turned it on. Squinting at his surroundings he saw a plush Renaissance bedroom with Louis XVI furniture, hand-frescoed walls, and a colossal mahogany four-poster bed. Where the hell am I?

Dan Brown. The Da Vinci Code

In the shade of the house, in the sunshine of the river bank by the boats, in the shade of the sallow wood and the fig tree, Siddhartha, the handsome Brahmin’s son, grew up with his friend Govinda. The sun browned his slender shoulders on the river bank,while bathing at the holy ablutions, at the holy sacrifices.Shadows passed across his eyes in the mango grove during play,while his mother sang, during his father’s teachings, when with the learned men.

-Hermann Hesse. Siddhartha 

HOWARD ROARK laughed. He stood naked at the edge of a cliff. The lake lay far below him. A frozen explosion of granite burst in flight to the sky over motionless water. The water seemed immovable, the stone–flowing. The stone had the stillness of one brief moment in battle when thrust meets thrust and the currents are held in a pause more dynamic than motion. The stone glowed, wet with sunrays.

-Ayn Rand. The Fountainhead

WHETHER I SHALL TURN OUT TO BE THE HERO OF MY own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born (as I have been informed and believe) on a Friday, at twelve o‘clock at night. It was remarked that the clock began to strike, and I began to cry, simultaneously.

Charles Dickens. David Copperfield 

High atop the steps of the Pyramid of Giza a young woman laughed and called down to him. “Robert, hurry up! I knew I should have married a younger man!” Her smile was magic. He struggled to keep up, but his legs felt like stone. “Wait,” he begged. “Please…” As he climbed, his vision began to blur. There was a thundering in his ears. I must reach her! But when he looked up again, the woman had disappeared. In her place stood an old man with rotting teeth. The man stared down, curling his lips into a lonely grimace. Then he let out a scream of anguish that resounded across the desert.

Dan Brown. Angels & Demons 

It was love at first sight.  The first time Yossarian saw the chaplain he fell madly in love with him.Yossarian was in the hospital with a pain in his liver that fell just short of being jaundice. The doctors were puzzled by the fact that it wasn’t quite jaundice. If it became jaundice they could treat it. If it didn’t become jaundice and went away they could discharge him. But this just being short of jaundice all the time confused them.

Joseph Heller. Catch-22

Mr. Sherlock Holmes, who was usually very late in the mornings, save upon those not infrequent occasions when he was up all night, was seated at the breakfast table. I stood upon the hearth-rug and picked up the stick which our visitor had left behind him the night before. It was a fine, thick piece of wood, bulbous-headed, of the sort which is known as a “Penang lawyer.” Just under the head was a broad silver band nearly an inch across. “To James Mortimer, M.R.C.S., from his friends of the C.C.H.,” was engraved upon it, with the date “1884.” It was just such a stick as the old-fashioned family practitioner used to carry–dignified, solid, and reassuring. “Well, Watson, what do you make of it?” Holmes was sitting with his back to me, and I had given him no sign of my occupation. “How did you know what I was doing? I believe you have eyes in the back of your head.” “I have, at least, a well-polished, silver-plated coffee-pot in front of me,” said he.

-Doyle, Arthur Conan Sir. The Hound of Baskervilles

My suffering left me sad and gloomy.Academic study and the steady, mindful practice of religion slowly wrought me back to life. I have kept up with what some people would consider my strange religious practices. After one year of high school, I attended the University of Toronto and took a double-major Bachelor’s degree. My majors were religious studies and zoology. My fourth-year thesis for religious studies concerned certain aspects of the cosmogony theory of Isaac Luria, the great sixteenth-century Kabbalist from Safed. My zoology thesis was a functional analysis of the thyroid gland of the three-toed sloth. I chose the sloth because its demeanour-calm, quiet and introspective–did something to soothe my
shattered self.

Yann Martel.Life of Pie

It is a curious thing that at my age–fifty-five last birthday–I should find myself taking up a pen to try to write a history. I wonder what sort of a history it will be when I have finished it, if ever I come to the end of the trip!

H Rider Haggard.King Solomon’s Mines

When farmer Oak smiled,the corners of his mouth spread till they were within an unimportant distance of his ears,his eyes were reduced to chinks,and diverging wrinkles appeared round them,extending upon his countenance like the rays in a rudimentary sketch of the rising sun

Thomas Hardy.Far From the Madding Crowd

 

 

(image not owned by me.Taken from-

http://www.oilpaintingfactory.com/pic/Oil%20Painting%20Masterpieces%20on%20Canvas/Grimshaw%20John%20Atkinson_England_1836-1893/4-November-Moonlight-city-scenes-landscape-John-Atkinson-Grimshaw.jpg)

All those who wander aren’t lost

At last I opened my eyes.It was dark.I decided against making any
further efforts to sleep.It was futile.Sleep had eluded me without notice this night.I admitted it.

I searched for the light switch in darkness and toppled the water bottle.It fell with a thud on the floor and made a rolling sound.I found the switch.When light flooded the room, I saw the bottle.It had sulkily gone to a corner.I didn’t make any endeavor to pick it.

I must do something.I looked around for some inspiration- ‘What could
be done to kill time at 3 AM in the morning?’ I turned my head towards
left,then right,then up,then down,then again left and again right.My
neck ached.

I took up a pen.”May be I should write something.”I recalled Bram
Stoker who wrote parts of ‘Dracula’ while sitting on the beach.I wasn’t on
a beach but the ardent ceiling fan whizzed down beach like gale.I tore
out a page and flattened it face up.It was blank.Blank paper is such
an inspiration!It attracts attention.It has something mysterious about
it.Very inviting sort of.One gets pulled towards it! It makes a silent declaration- ‘Don’t worry,I am harmless’

I pinned down the harmless paper with a cellphone to save it from the
assault of ceiling fan.(ceiling fan must learn to behave.) Now I was
ready. I creased my eyebrows and made a thoughtful expression,like a
serious writer.And I started thinking too.

I saw in my mind a unicorn reading a book.Then I saw a Dracula
walking on beach-then polar bears sleeping peacefully in snow-people rowing boats in a city.Then I tried to recall what the inhabitants of Antarctica were called.

I looked down at the paper, it looked back at me – expectantly.I
shrugged and looked around- for more inspiration. The bottle had
quietly fell asleep at the corner.’Huh’ I sighed and put back the cap on the pen.

I laid back down on bed and stretched myself.Some joints cracked.

Something like a pebble fell on the stack of newspapers.I sat up
intrigued.I looked towards the stack of newspapers lying at some
distance. A black pebble like winged insect which makes  buzzzzzzzz
sound had crash landed.It was agitated.It moved around a bold
newspaper headline in panic.There was a picture of a man with long beard.He was wearing spectacles.The headline read-“All those who wander aren’t lost”

I laid back and stretched again.The stoic fan swirled unconcernedly.The buzzz insect was silent.After some time,it started buzzing again.It rose up and flew out through the window.

‘Good idea!’,I mused,’Let me write a new post for my blog.’

writing